Will hear PIL if you deposit ₹10L first, HC tells BJP MLA
Mumbai The Bombay high court (HC) asked BJP MLA Girish Mahajan to deposit ₹10 lakh with the court, as a precondition for hearing his public interest litigation (PIL), which challenges the new rules for appointment of Maharashtra assembly speaker and deputy speaker.
The division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Makarand Karnik said that the petition will be heard on March 8, if he deposits the amount.
While hearing two PILs filed separately by Mahajan and Mumbai resident Janak Vyas, the bench was informed by advocate Abhinav Chandrachud that the PIL challenged the December 2021 notification of the state government which altered rule 6 pertaining to the election of speaker and rule 7, which dealt with the selection of the deputy speaker of assembly.
Both the petitions claimed that the altered rules were arbitrary and unconstitutional as it permitted only the chief minister to advise the governor on the election of the speaker.
However, advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni for the state opposed the petition on the aspect of maintainability. He submitted that as Mahajan was a sitting MLA and if he was personally aggrieved by the altered rules, he should have filed a writ petition and not a PIL. The bench was further informed that the PIL was filed just days before the election, although the notification was issued in December last year.
After hearing the submissions, the bench referred to Mahajan and remarked that it was of the opinion that he had been waiting too long to file the PIL, which created doubts about his bonafides and to prove the same he would have to deposit ₹10 lakh in the HC.
With regards to the claim in the PIL of the unconstitutionality of only the CM being allowed to advise the governor on the appointment of speaker or deputy speaker, the court sought to know how it was unconstitutional and whether it was incumbent on the CM or governor to take the aid and advise of the council of ministers.
Thereafter, the HC said that if Mahajan deposited the amount by March 7, it would schedule hearing of the PIL on March 8.
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